Software for Mac Users

I know there are a few topics based on software and mac. However, i still have a few questions.

I was all set to install Estelcam but found out that it is only for Windows. This led me to check out WINE but that looks like it is not supported on the newer Macs (MacOS 12.1).

So I think these are my options but would like to hear some opinions. I think I can use Fusion 360 for CAD and CAM but I would obviously need to learn the software.

It looks like i could also use OnShape for design and KiriMoto for CAM.

Are those the 2 best options for Mac users. Also what would be the best solution for simple engraving, plotting, and/or Vinyl. The two options above seem to mostly be for full 3D models…Not sure I am ready for that yet.

Any suggestions and or advice here.

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Some of the people round here seem to be comfortable running ten levels of emulation on a toaster, I’m not - just want a simple GUI I can understand and get on with it so here’s what I think. :smiley:

Be clear before reading further that my experience is zero. My machine is complete but has done no work as yet. However, I’ve spent a couple of years asking the same question (mostly rhetorically) and a little more than a year ago, decided to run with OnShape. (and with KiriMoto).

I found the OnShape learning process fairly smooth, it suits my way of working I guess and am pretty confident with that - KiriMoto will be my next step and it appears to be pretty well supported (here and on its own forum).

OnShape’s limits for simple engraving I think are the pretty much complete absence of interesting fonts. At the moment there’s no way to add custom fonts to the very small standard range.

I have downloaded InkScape for that reason, but haven’t put my mind to it yet.

I have wondered, and continue to do so, whether there is some “affordable” proprietary software that would do the job? Which of the “VCarves” for instance would be similar in cost to a virtual machine + OS + whatever else?

Sorry to answer your question with two more, but I’m standing by with interest!

Peter H that is some great insight! It seems that I am in the same camp as you. I have my machine built and was able to get the Gcode saved and inputed fro the crown test. Other than that I have not done anything else.

I am eager to get my machine dirty so that is why I am now interested in the software but like you I would “just like it to work.” Maybe I will check out OnShape. I wonder if this can be used for engraving, plotting or vinyl cutting.

I have heard of inkscape but I thought this was more of a photoshop tool and not necessarily something you would use to engrave or do things like make signs.

But then part of me wonders if I should just learn Fusion. Does learning OnShape help with a Fusion transition later?

any other tips and or suggestions.

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I would take a look at the software workflow doc. It has been a while since anyone added anything to it. But I think it is still good to give you the lay of the land.

Learning onshape or any 3D cad is going to level up your brain and help you learn any other one.

I feel your pain. I am a long time Linux user and it can be very frustrating to have to spin up a VM to run that one piece of software. That’s one reason I don’t use fusion (they support windows and Mac but not Linux).

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Maybe I need to keep an eye on craigslist for a MAC. I really have not seen or used one in 6+ years, if not way more (I had a dual boot hackintosh for a while, but once it was finished I never booted into it). I remember early on trying to find a neighbor with one so I could try to get some Arduino instructions, but just can’t find one.

What I am getting more worried about is trying to find things to work on phones or tablets. Half of my friends seriously do not own computers, they just use their phones. Absolutely blows my mind, I can not stand using my phone for anything let alone real work. One guy wanted a 3D printer…his biggest hurdle was he didn’t have a computer.

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Chromebooks are getting pretty good at doing a lot of “normal” stuff. Tablets (especially a lot of the older ones or the locked down apple ones) seem harder to use.

I can imagine finding a tool like xloader for a Chromebook, but running platformio would take some serious configuration.

I am guessing the library won’t let you install avrdude on their machines either.

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Jeff thanks for the pointing me back to the software workflow chart. It definitely has some great overall concept ideas.

I guess it’s time to pick some software and dive in. I have a 3D printer and am fairly confident in using it and Cura but I must admit that everything I have printed so far have just been things from “Thingiverse.”

I knew eventually there would be something that I wanted to print or now CNC that would need to be designed my me so I guess here is my chance.

For simple drawing or plotting that I see people do is that using a program like OnShape or something else?

Ryan…I admit I use my phone for most everything except work. I don’t use my computer much but definitely prefer it for things like 3d printing and a real keyboard.


I have been on that journey for a while (a few years now) and I can say it is frustrating how slow it is to get going, but extremely rewarding when you break through. Many things I do, I would rather design it than deal with thingiverse now. My family is pretty tired of me fishing for compliments on my little widgets. You will not be an expert in 20 hours, but you will be able to make things acceptable.

The kind of CAD to make kirimoto work is pretty minimal. You would need to make a sketch for estlcam anyway. For kirimoto, you would just extrude shapes to make it 3D and then let kirimoto do the CAM.

I would suggest onshape over fusion, but that may be my own personal bias. You can use kirimoto with any cad designs.

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I like the sentiment but suspect that would be quit counter productive and a huge waste (*not “waste” but can’t find a better word!) of your time that could be better spent elsewhere - despite our occasional whinging.

(I’m a bit inflexible because I’ve been a Mac user since 1984 and there have been large chunks of time in there where nothing seemed to be compatible - but there is always a workaround.)

I do think that effort would be better spent on a tablet platform of any flavour - I’m not sure how or what that means even, but in my “how do I drive this thing” ponderings, a tablet controller did cross my mind possibly because there;s a tablet version of onshape and I thought it would be a really simple process to transfer docs to that and…

On the other hand, and I can’t promise anything (you have seen how long it takes me to do things!) when and if I get up and running I’d be happy to collaborate on a set of Mac guidelines and can’t imagine I’m the only one.

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Well we do have web based controls that are super easy to implement but repetier host works as well, but nothing for CAD or CAM other than the ones listed earlier.

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There are controllers that work on Android tablets. Not CAM, AFAIK. But you can connect over USB ota and co trol Marlin printers, at least.

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In the context of “plug and play” I did have an inexpert look at a few options. I think for me that’s for the “next project” perhaps. I am seriously reluctant to get involved with another operating system, because I really don’t want that to be my hobby, but the car head unit and a couple of television sets… ugh!

I went through all this before buying my printer - was all set to set up octoprint and blah blah blah, and you know what? The old sneaker net on SD card has behaved flawlessly, and that was what really convinced me to keep the LR2 operation absolutely at it’s most basic.

That doesn’t mean I can’t ‘develop’ over time! :smiley:

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I have a Mac - For furniture and boat related stuff I use Fusion 360 (you can get free teacher or student subscriptions), output to .dxf and use Adobe Illustrator to cleanup paths and arrange stuff on the substrate. I run Windows through Parallels and use ESTL. I’ve been running the Lowrider heavily for 3 years. Usually, one project a week.

Both Fusion360 and Adobe Illustrator pay dividends once you learn them.

If you are just doing engravings, 2D shapes and so forth - Illustrator and its vector based graphics is outstanding. It’s very lightweight…even on older computers. Licensing is a bitch. But if you can get an older version or finagle something else…

Illustrator has not changed much over time. It is my go to for any kind of design.


I used to use illustrator but find Inkscape handles all my basic needs pretty well. If it is MAC compatible, I would recommend it if you are going the vector route.

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Inkscape it’s mac compatible and the licensing is very easy (it is a free project, like Wikipedia).


Thanks for all of the information…I was able to make/plot something with OnShape and KiriMoto and it went okay…OnShape seemed to work fine and not to terribly hard but I found KiriMoto a little frustrating to use as I did not know what features to use…Next I think I will try Inkscpae and I think I will give Fusion a try . Maybe the CAM will be more intuitive.

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My Mac workflow FWIW:
2D CAD (mostly drag knife stuff): Inkscape
3D CAD: Fusion
CAM: Fusion
Sneakernet SD cards around the house/garage (though I’ve used repetier in the past to drive the CNC, I don’t bother now)

Fusion has a learning curve for sure.


Let me know if you find an intuitive CAM! I might have to break out my old Fusion account!

sounds ominous…which post processor should I be downloading for fusion 360 cam? It looks like flyfisher is the latest. Do you need to download both?

Flyfisher’s PP is the latest and all you need.